Kgomotso G Daweti
A Message To My Father, Mandela
This is a Message to You, Father,
Father of my Nation
Whence we were all filled with joy and ululation
Whence we were all united, sole, where Segregation,
The times where we thought that
we'll never part
When we thought we could, together, build up a mount so fine
but now I ask why, why,
oh father, do we have to suffer,
Why do we have to fight this losing war
The sores and wounds deep
but yet they bore and
trying to reach the core
Trying to gain that control and power, but yet Father!
a mighty man
a man of strength
A man so immense in courage
Forgiving, never seeking revenge
Less than a God but yet so Great
A Mate, an Icon, A Giant, A Comrade
A Leader of the African National Congress,
A Founder of UmKhonto Wesizwe
A President, A Politician, A Xhosa
A Friend, A Father,
One who imbued his best
Individual hence his quest was achieved by you
Time has Passed, the Message Left,
We Thank You and
Plead you Rest.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Madiba – This is the name of the clan of which Mr Mandela is a member. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.
Tata – This isiXhosa word means “father” and is a term of endearment that many South Africans use for Mr Mandela. Since he is a father figure to many, they call him Tata regardless of their own age.
Khulu – Mr Mandela is often called “Khulu”, which means great, paramount, grand. The speaker means “Great One” when referring to Mr Mandela in this way. It is also a shortened form of the isiXhosa word “uBawomkhulu” for “grandfather”.
Dalibhunga – This is the name Mr Mandela was given at the age of 16 once he had undergone initiation, the traditional Xhosa rite of passage into manhood. It means “creator or founder of the council” or “convenor of the dialogue”. The correct use of this name when greeting Mr Mandela is “Aaah! Dalibhunga”.
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